Project: Prey Nokor
Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: March/01/2003
Last updated: November/30/2016
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.
The Chinese word "Lin-yi", in some occasion "Lin-yang", is the exact translation of the Khmer word "Prey Nokor", meaning the forest country. As we had seen, Prey Nokor had a long history connected with the formation of the Sakyan royal house of Gangetic India through the Tchou dynasty of China (The Naga-dvipa: The Hiong wang Kingdom: The Tien-Tchou Dynasty). Its past history ended abruptly after the Han dynasty took over the Quin court. Influenced by Confucianism, the Han was the first of all Chinese dynasties who were territorial and nationality conscious. After taking control of China, the Han dismantled the Tian legacies and took the eastern part of Lin-yi to form with northern Jin countries what is called China of modern days. To safeguard its own venture, the Han founded Tonkin as a southern commanding post to prevent any attempts to reclaim the lost territory of the Hion-wang kingdom. At the same time, the Hans set the western part of Lin-yi that was Indochina proper as a vassal-state under the control of local Cham leadership. Unlike the development of Dai-Viet that was formed successfully by replacing the Kun-lun with Annamete (Central Chinese) people, the vassalage of Indochina was met with strong resistance. Chinese texts started mentioning about the uprising of Lin-yi under their mystic leader Kiu-lian rising up against the Han 's court 137 that followed by the declaration of independence in 197. It was a grassroots movement that involved with all kun-lun stratum of Southeast Asia. Evidences later show that starting from the reign of Fan Shish Man, Funan joined Lin-yi in fighting against both Tonkin and the Han court while at the same time, fought off the Cham' s control of Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, the fight continued until the arrival of Kaundinya who, along side Funan subdued the Cham king and subsequently freed the southern Lin-yi from the Han dynasty.
The Confusion of Identity between Prey Nokor and Champapura
Chinese texts were so far the only source of information about the history of the new Prey Nokor until the arrival of Kaundinya. Lin-yi was a Chinese reference to a country in eastern coast of the mainland Indochina that was formed after the fall of the Hiong-wang kingdom. This close reference led scholars to mistakenly attribute the identity of "Lin-yi" to that of Champapura. Like other locations of Southeast Asia, political circumstances played important roles in the identification of a country. Champapura and Prey-Nokor were in fact the same country and populated by the same people, remnants of the last Kun-lun Kingdom of Hiong-wang. The difference is that Champapura received its identity from the Cham (Hiong-nu) Kings who like the Hans, originated from the Yueh family while Prey Nokor was the resuscitation in pure form of the Kun-lun Kingdom of Hiong-wang under the rulership of native Kamara kings. Dated back since the antiquity, we shall see that Prey Nokor had a long past history with the Khmer-mon people and would become the preceptor of the next resurgence of the Khmer kingdom in Indochina. After the fall of the Han, the Cham control of Prey-nokor faded and Champapura became since one of the Khmer cities to be governed by the Khmer court. Even though, lower members of the Cham court were left to rule their own localities, the legacies left by the Cham kings were scarce. Nonetheless, they came back occasionally during the dark time of the Khmer courts and the feud between the two royal houses made the Chams appearing like a hereditary enemy of the Khmers as people. Added into the dynamic development of Lin-yi, Kaundinya founded the Khmer Kingdom from the remnants of the old Lin-yi (Hiong-wang) kingdom that would become the progenator of the new Angkorean Empire. To be more consistent with its Chinese source, we shall use its Chinese reference "Lin-yi" interchangeably with the Khmer word of "Prey Nokor". Furthermore, we shall see that Prey Nokor was also the seat of the Khmer Kingdom and should be referred on occasions that requires clarification.
THE FALL OF THE HIONG WANG KINGDOM
The confusion between Lin-Yi and Champapura in modern history book was understandably as due to the confusion of identity of their courts. Mistakes started from the early translation of the early accounts from the Chinese source (Notes: The modern translation of ancient historical Accounts from Chinese sources). For instance, the history of Lin-yi or the Hiong-wang kingdom was treated in a close relation with the Chinese history of the Tchou dynasty. At the same time, the accounts of the Kun-lun people and culture were generally perceived as unrelated to the Hion-wang kingdom. Our own study had yield to the conclusion that the Hiong-wang kingdom was actually formed by the Kun-lun (Kujin) people from Nagaland and that after its fall, it was the same Kun-lun (and not the Cham) people who reconstructed the Lin-yi kingdom of Southeast Asia.
The Displacement of the Kun-lun People*
As dictated in the cosmogony of Poh Nokor, the formation of Annamete as part of the Han China was carried on by the Queen of the West. Code-named as Nan-Yueh (Nam-Tien in Vietnamese), the campaign consisted of a series of drastic attacks and maneuvers that drove the Tian communities out of the southern part of the Chinese continent. In the attempt to absorb the Hiong-wang kingdom as part of the Han China, the movement transplanted Annamete and Viet (Yueh) migrants down south in replacing the Kun-lun people. This development was not fully undestood by modern scholars and properly compiled in the modern history of China. To make the matter worst, the formation of Tonking by the Han to take on an important role in the Nam-tien campaign added more confusion into the history of Prey Nokor. Before going further, it is imperative to clear off many misconception regarding the distinction of the Kun-lun, the Annamete and the Cham people in the connection of the Hiong-wang kingdom. The misconception started with linguists to have recently included the Vietnamese language into the Mon-Khmer family. The inclusion that basically included all languages speaking by agriculturist societies of the mainland of today into the same Khmer-mon tongue gave the impression that the Vietnamese were actually native of the Red River Delta and worst yet of Champapura or Cochinchina. Eager to verify current Vietnamese claim of their existence as a southern race independently from China, Western scholars used the finding to conclude that the Viets were actually close relative of the southern austroasiatic speaking people to whom they shared a rich stock of vocabulary. This inclusion however, was from the start received with skepticism because of two reasons: first the Vietnamese language is linguistically tonal and secondly the ethnic and life-style difference between the Vietnamese and the Khmer-mon people are quite obvious. The first issue was quieted down by the explanation that the Vietnamese Language underwent changes to tonal under the dominance of the Chinese rule that happened after the Han took over the Viet country and set it as part of China. Even it was true, the language alone could not determine the ethnic or the origin of a group of people (Notes: The linguistic Path of Evolution). Our finding found instead that Vietnamese or Annamite People were not originally neighbor to the Muong and neither to the austroasiatic people. Of central China by origin, the Annamite had been under the Tchou since the fall of the Shang dynasty. It was through the Tchou that they received a very high dose of the Himalayan Culture (The Nagadvipa: The Hiong Wang Kingdom: The Tien-Tchou Dynasty). As token of its inheritance, Vietnamese language contained a rich stock of the Mon-Khmer vocabulary. In addition, Vietnamese myth of the draconian king Lord Lac along with the Hong (Huong in Chinese) legacy reflected the pre-historical dynamic of Chinese rulers as part of the spreading of the earlier Meru culture. The differences was that China had its culture and language very much established by local developments that along the way erased all traces of external influence while Vietnamese societies still retained most of their original legacies. Even though underwent substantial changes through more contact with the Sakan and Mongoloid cultures, the Viet communities of the Red River Delta still hold on to their Chinese heritage. In that situation, we conclude that the Dai-Viet's identity owed its existence very much to the Han Chinese. The people of Dai-viet, the Vietnamese of Tonkin in particular, were Annamete from Central Asia who had no connection or inclusion of any kind with indigenous elements of the austroasiatic or southern austronesian stocks. They were joined later by the Nungs of Central Asia (Notes: The Indegenous Tribesmen of Tonkin). Recognizable by theirs conic, the Nungs were well known of theirs vagabondage lifestyle. At first, the agriculturist Kun-lun people who were the original residence of Kuang-hsi and Kuang-tung, had no reason to fear about the lost of land to the new comers. The fertile land of the Red River delta was obviously not the main motive for the Yueh migrants as the agricultural hard work on the field was not fit for their life-style. However other ethnic Chinese took that opportunity to move in under the Viet official' s protection. The Autroasiatic peasants soon found themselves drown by the influx of Annamete landowners from Central China who took no time to start on their land encroaching business (Notes: The Chinese Land owners). Typical of modern land concession ' s policy that would be applied later during the Nam-Tien 's campaign, the Kun-lun' s lands were wrested away and sold to the high bids by any-way possible. If they were not driven out long time ago, they surely were now as any traces of them were only past legacies. It is important to note that other ethnic groups did not suffer the same fate as the Kun-lun tribesmen mostly because they lived in the infertile land of the mountainous region (Notes: The Land Concession of the Thos). With the fertile land to support its military troops, Vietnam differed itself from other Dai-Viet communities of southern China by the presence of more Yueh migrants from Central Asia. Formed as a strategic commanding post of China, Tonkin was particularly subject to the Yueh migration because the Han needed them as their army's recruits.
The Remnant of the Tsu Dynasty *
The Stiengs were among indigenous tribes of the mainland who were close enough to the Hoabinhian tribesmen of Southeast Asia. However unlike their Austro-Asiatic counterpart, anthropologists classifies the Stiengs as of Khmer-mon stock. As survivors of the great flood, they were the first to settle in the Red Valley as part of the original inhabitants of the Hiong-wang kingdom (Notes: The Flood Survivors of Southern China). As part of the Hiong-wang' s original settlers, the Stiengs claim that they were once belonged to the only one Kun-lun tribesmen who lived along the shore of Southern China (MGRV: The Stieng: Tribal Background: Legendary History). Chinese accounts acknowledged that Chinese people (I-Tsing in particular) knew that the Kun-lun (Kamara) people were the first inhabitant of Kiao-wang, the Kiao kingdom at the southern part of China. Kiao-wang was mentioned then to include Quangsi and Quangton, and as its name implied was a confederation of states. The Stieng's account furthermore claims a close relationship with the Tsu dynasty by connecting their ruler named Djiang to the son of a Tsu ruler who was married to a princess of theirs own. As southern China was still underdeveloped during the reign of the Tsu Dynasty, the country was then known as the Jungle country or Forest Country (Lin-yi in Chinese). The Stieng' s story started when a god descended from heaven to marry one of their tribal girls named Dai Cho Phek. They had one son named Djiang and the family moved back to heaven (Anyang) where Djiang got all his education.
Djiang was ingenious; he knows how to forge tools, to weave baskets, to build houses, and to till the soil. The god sent Djiang back to earth to teach the trades to his tribes. Djiang married a girl named Lom, and they both became immortal.
The Stieng' s account of Djiang was checked out by tradition about the founder of the Tchou dynasty of Xiang background (Notes: The Djiang' s Identity). With the presence of Djiang in their community, their civilization took a boost. In support to the Stieng' s claim, archeology confirmed that North Vietnam was originally a site of the Hoabinhian to be layered over by the Dong son and later the Tian culture. The next passage of the Stieng' s accounts concerns about the development of the Tian Culture under the leadership of the Tsu Dynasty (700BC-476BC). Unfortunately, the Stiengs had not yet completely brought to the Tian civilization when the Hans drove them out from their homeland of southern Chinese seashore.
Soon the ruler of China declared war with Djiang who along with his soldiers and tribesmen retreated to the south.
This was happening during the emergence of the Han dynasty and the ruler of China here is meant to be no other than the Han Emperor himself. ousted from Jinnan by the Hans. While the hard core of the Kamara tribes were driven south, Yueh immigrants were pouring in and were going to dilute the indigenous people that stayed behind. Along the way, the Stiengs lost track of their ruler and when they met a talking dog, they ask for information. The talking dog whom we shall identify as the Mien told them a lie.
Djiang had passed that way long before. See how clear the water of the brook are and how the bushes are undisturbed.
The Stiengs believed the Mien, not realizing that the water stream had erased all traces of their compatriots who just went by in a short time ahead of them. Losing hope of joining Djiang, they then decided to settle down by themselves. Little that they knew, the Khmers were just settling ahead of them. The Stiengs remained the way they were until today and became a remnant of the early Kamara culture. Obviously they were part of the eastern Kamara refugees chased by the Han Chinese to settle down at the eastern part of the mainland at the Mekong's delta. Among their neighbors, the Khmer communities are just a little farther south. After a short settlement, the Khmer communities regrouped themselves and fought to free Lin-yi from the control of the Han dynasty of China as well as from the Cham court of Southeast Asia. Undoubtedly, it was the city of Prey-nokor that the Arab merchant Lbn Said mentioned to be the city Komoriyya (Kamati) where the Kamara kings resided while escaping the Han attack (Champapura: The Birth of Dai-Viet: The Displacement of the Kamara People). According to the Chinese source, a group of barbarians from the frontier of Je-nan attacked Siang-lin in 137 and after victory, a native named Chu-Lien declared the independence of Lin-yi in 192. Siang-lin became the capital of Lin-yi for a short time before it was back under the Han's control and was left to the Chinese families of ethnic Ma to grow. At the same time, the fighting continued with the growing supports from both the courts of Funan and the Vakataka of Deccan.
The Fight for Independence *
During the late stage of Funan history, the descendants of king Fan Man had split into two antagonist factions (Kambuja Desa: The Sea Route Plan: The set-back). One group led by the direct descendant of king Fan she Man continued to fight off the control of Kiao-Tche and to extend Funan's frontier into the old ream of the Hiong-wang kingdom. Another group that was led by king Fan Chan and his direct descendant were more focusing on finding a common ground to restore a relationship with India and China. The sea-route plan appeared to be a good solution for the time being. Taking the opportunity of the Kushan rising in Maghadha, Fan Chan who himself was of strong Koshan affiliation, needed only to work with the Wu court of China to open the sea-route 's plan through the intermediary of Funan. The plan however was facing with many setbacks. On the Indian side, the Koshan glory' s day soon ended with the emergence of the Vakataka court of Deccan. During the reign of Pravarasena, the Naga consortium was in the high of its might and evidences show that Funan and Lin-yi were two active members of the consortium. By then, the remaining descendants of king Fan Chan themselves appeared to stay in the dark giving way to the native members of king Fan Man' s family to take the lead. It was through Southeast Asia that the Vakataka Samvat took on its position against the Koshan. In support to the native king of Prey-nokor, evidences show that Funan strengthened its control against Kiao-the. To safeguard its own existence, Tonkin started a plan of it own in dealing with its southern neighbor. According to the History of three kingdoms, the plan was about the spreading of Chinese authority down south. Known as Nam-tien in Vietnamese, the plan was to extend the Chinese frontier down south through Tonkin. Lu Tai who was governor of both Kuangtung and Kiao-tche (between 220 and 230) at the time took the initiative to carry on the campaign deep south by sending his emissaries to the southern countries. In response, one of Prey Nokor kings sent an embassy along with that of Funan back to him. It was the first time that Lin-yi appeared in Chinese record to send embassies to the Chinese court, but after a short period of time, Lin-yi restarted its fight against its norhern aggressor. The king Fan Hsiung, grandson of Chu Lien in the mother line, renewed the attacks around 270. According to the Chinese source, he was aided by the king of Funan. The good relationship between Funan and Lin-yi was not a coincidence and suggests a family connection between the leadership of both kingdoms. In the biography of Tao Houang during the Wu dynasty and continued under the Tsi dynasty (280), Kiao-tche attempted to sustain control by using the Wu dynasty (222-280) for support. At that moment, the Chinese emperor appeared to be enough of the southern war and wanted to curb the military spending. Alarmed by this decision, the Tonkin governor Tao Houng addressed the Chinese emperor a persuasive memoir, stressing out the danger of Tonkin to face the constant incursions of the "pretended king" of Lin-yi. Stating that the garrison that was originally accounted for more than 7000 men, was already reduced to 2,420 men under the cost cutting plan of the Wu dynasty, he was urging for more support.
In addition, he (the king of Lin-yi) allies himself at the south with Funan. Their tribes are numerous; their banded armies help each other. Profiting from their dangerous regions, they do not submit to China.
He pleaded to stop reducing further the garrison of Tonkin and the Chinese court was apparently persuaded. In 284, the next king Fan Yi of Lin-yi sent his first official embassy to China. Fan Yi had a certain counselor, identified by various texts as a native of Yang Chou named Wen. In 313 and 316, Wen went to China to learn various techniques and made his way up at the court of Lin-yi. At the death of Fan Yi that took place unexpectedly in 336, Wen took the throne of Lin-yi, brushing aside the rightful heirs. He moved his capital to the region around Hue, at the site that many inscriptions found later identified as Champapura. In 340, he sent an embassy to the Chin emperor requesting to move the northern border of his kingdom to Hoanh-son Mountain. While the emperor kept his silence, he seized the fertile land of Je-nan and set the new boundary of his kingdom accordingly. He died in 349 during another attempt to move further north. Fan Wen was quoted in Chinese source of low background and migh have been born in China. His access to Chinese education and advanced knowledge of the court affair however led us to believe that he was not just a regular Chinese people, but a member of the Wu or Cham royal houses. At this moment in time, evidences show that the Cham powerhouses were subjugated by the Funan king Fan Shih Man whom we had identified as belonging to the grass root of king Samantha's descendants. The fall of the Han dynasty allowed many old members of displaced courts, notably of the Tchou, Wu and Tsin dynasties to free themselves and to exert control on their own territory. Nevertheless, evidences show that members of the Cham Aristocracy was not totally wiped out, but were absorbed into the Prey-Nokor court. It was also known in khmer tradition that many of them were taking refuge in China. Following the example of king Fan Wen, the rising of a Cham king taking control of Lin-yi by rebellion or usurpation, was seen next common to the history of Prey-Nokor.
THE PRECEPTOR OF NOKOR KHMER
After the fall of the Han in 220 AD, China was split locally and ruled by a consortium of the Sung, Wu and Tsi royal houses. Due to Middle Eastern connection, these courts became more and more Tartaric and disconnected themselves from their peers of the south. Under this condition, China received its new identity as the three kingdoms. The Wu took opportunity of the fall of Hion-wang to take over Dai-Viet territory as part of Southern China. For the Tchou and the Tsu, the dismantment of the Hion-wang kingdom was however irreversible. Taking refuge at the south, they started on rebuilding the Khmer Empire. At the same time that the Vakataka court emerged itself in Deccan, the Khmer kingdom of Prey Nokor was also formed by Kaundinya on the ground of the displaced Kun-lun people.
The Aristocracy and the Court*
The work of Ma Tuan-Lin has another account about the life-style of the Khmer aristocratic societies that is particularly standing out from the regular people. It contradicts early Chinese report of showing indigenous court and people alike that were still in their original habit and life-style.
The inhabitants build the walls of their houses with baked bricks, coated with a layer of lime. The houses are all mounted on a platform or terrace called kan-la. The openings are generally placed on the north side, sometimes on the east or west, without fixed rule....Men and women have no other costume than a length of ki-pei cloth wrapped around the body. They pierce their ears so they can suspend little rings from them. The distinguished people wear leather shoes; the common people go barefoot. These customs prevail equally in Funan and in all the kingdoms situated beyond Lin-yi.
The Chinese observers would find these Cham aristocrats to have the look and life-style exactly like the Han Chinese. On the other hand, they found the royal court of the Kun-lun kingdom much more sophisticated than that of the native queen Ye-Liu of Kauk Tloak
The king wears a tall hat decorated with gold flowers and trimmed with a silk tassel. When he goes out he mounts an elephant, preceded by conches and drums, sheltered under a parasol of ki-pei, and surrounded by servants who wave banners of the same material.
Another passage provides description about military and musical equipment similar of what they used in Chinese court.
Their weapons consist of bows and arrows, sabers, lances, and crossbow of bamboo wood. The musical instruments they used are very similar to those we use ourselves: the flute, the violin with five strings, the flute etc. They also used conches and drums to warn the people.
From these descriptions, it is clear that the Kun-lun aristocrats and royal house were not native of Southeast Asia. They were actually members of the fallen Tchou Court of China, taking refuge after the attack by the Han dynasty. Out of reach of China, Prey Nokor offered them refuge to regroup themselves and to free the remnant of the Hiong-wang kingdom from the control of the Chams. As we had seen, members of the Kun-lun courts were actively fighting to free Prey Nokor along side Funan. It is important to note that the Chams started their venture in Southeast Asia as vassal of the Kambojan Empire, but were able to usurp the Funan throne during their first settlement around Ba Phnom. After driving the hard-core Cham power elite out, Kaundinya topped himself over an already organized Cham court that was left unchanged as tributary to the new Khmer Empire. Under Kaundinya, evidence shows that the Champa' s court was still composed mostly of Cham functionaries and many localities were left to the Cham king's sons to rule after he was ousted from the region (CKH: The reign of Prah Baram ksatrya Maha Can Raja).
During the reign of the first Ksatrya that is Prah Bat Kumeruraja or Prah Thong, when he won the battle over the king Ajiraja he caught the latter' s five sons who were: Prah Suryavaraman, Prah Suriyangvarman, Prah Baramindravarman, Prah Suryavarman (bis) and Prah Surindravarman. All five sons surrendered to him and handed over the kingdom. He appointed Prah Suryavarman to be the general commissioner, Prah Suriyangvarman to rule the district of Treang at the mount Bayangkor, Prah Baramindravarman to rule over Tbaung Khmum, Prah Suryavarman to rule over the district of Slaket, and Prah Surindravarman to rule over the district of Staung.
This arrangement from the part of Khmer King, allowed the Cham communities to stay strong and to rally behind the Chenla uprising later against the Khmer court (Chenla: Introduction: It all started at Prey Nokor). During the reign of Jayavarman Kaundinya, the Chenla kings who were descendants of Kaundinya with Cham consorts would stage against the rest of the Kaundinya family to take back not only the throne of Champapura, but the whole establishment of the Kambojan Empire. Only then that the Cham power houses ceased to exist on the mainland Indochina. Driven out by the coalition of Khmer and Kambojan displaced courts, the Cham legacies were virtually wiped out from the mainland to take refuge at Java (Dvaravati: The rise of the Javanese Empire: The Ho-ling Kingdom of Java). Under the Khmer control, Champapura became now the capital of Prey Nokor (Lin-yi) and still retained its name in inscriptions of both the Khmer and the Chola kings. During the Angkorian period, Prey Nokor became a cardinal state of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire and Champapura was a strategic Khmer commercial seaport competing against the Chinese port of Je-nan. During each decline of the Khmer Empire, the Cham court from Java came back to take control of Champapura and established it as a vassal of Java. Having its capital at Po Nokor, the kingdom of Champa was more like a military command post of Java and lasted as long as the Khmer Empire was in a crisis situation.
Kaundinya and the Nanda Dynasty *
As his name implies, Kaundinya was a member of the eminent ancient Aryan clan, the Nanda. In the inscription of Vo-Canh, he was introduced as Kau-Nandinya (a complete form of Kaundinya) of Mararaja (Meruraja) lineage. It identifies him as a member of the Nanda Royal house that was represented by a bull or a cow. Rooted in Southeast Asia, the Nanda was an ancient legacy of the agriculturist societies of the Hoabinhian culture. The culture soon spread itself to Central Asia and the rest of the world through the expansion of the Meru Culture. Because of the advance knowledge that they brought with them, the Nandas were quick to bring their new kingdom to fame and glory. Subdued by Ashoka, they were forced to stay at the background and were gradually absorded under the control of the Mauryans through intermarriage. Evidences show that the formation of the mighty Gupta royal house contained both members of the Nanda and the Mauryan houses as a combined legacy of the fallen courts of the Tchou and Wu. In the mixture, members of the Xiang that represented the grass-root of king Samantha's direct descendant was always considered as the ancestral lineage of the two dynasties. The emergence of the Gupta court at Magadha suggests the return of the Tchou dynasty to the Gangetic India and to rebuild India after wresting the Magadhan throne back from the Sakan powerhouses. Evidences show that during the fight, they receive support from both the native Xiang court of Prey-nokor and the Funan king Fan Man and that Kaundinya was more likely raised in the court of Funan. Chinese texts comment that his return as an important evolution in the new Indianization of Southeast Asia.
In the south he (Kaundinya) arrived at Pan Pan. The people of Funan appeased to him; the whole kingdom rose up with joy went before him, and chose him king. He changed all the laws to conform to system of India. (Funan: VI: Page 269)
As we had identified that Pan Pan was Lavo, Kaundinya's staying at Pan Pan is consistent with the next event concerning the Tai control of king Simhanati. We had seen that during the reign of King Bimbissara at Maghadha, his brother Simhanati had established a Tai country at Xiang Saen and took many surrounding Khmer communities under its control (The Sakadvipa: The Tai Incursion: King Simhanati and the formation of Xiang-sean). The arrival at Pan-Pan would change the whole situation. The Siam tradition elaborates next the attack of the Krom (Khmer) Ruler of Umangsila (Lanna) on the Bandhusimhanati nagara of Xiang Sean. The chronicle dates the event at the start of prince Pang's reign at the age of 20 years old.
Seeing that the prince Pang, the monarch of Yonaka Nagara Xiang Saen, was young, he (the Krom Dam) raised an army of a hundred thousands men to revolt and captured the city (Bandhusimhanati) by force. (ASiam1: Chronicle de Sinhanavati: Les Khmer et les Tai: P. 185)
The Krom Ruler than moved his court from Lanna to Xiang Saen and at the same time sent the prince Pang to a small city to rule as a tributary to Xiang-Saen. The event that took place at 357 AD coincides with the event of Tien-Tchou Chan-tan of Funan whom we had identified as Chandragupta II, sending ambassy to the court of China to request the control of Kiao-Tche. It was with the people 's support that Kaundinya could wage his war against the powerful Cham king and resuscitated the legacy of Prey Nokor back to life. Shortly after, stone inscriptions had been erected farther north by king Bhadravarman to assert the new territory of his city Bhadrapura. More inscriptions found at the site commemorated either Prah Kau or Bhadrasvara as the progenator of the next Kamara Kings. Nevertheless, these inscriptions did not provide detail information about Kaundinya nor of Bhadravarman in the court of Funan. Only in later inscription that was erected by the Cham king Prakacadhamma (Mison: Inscription of Prakacadhamma: P. 918-925) that we see a commemoration of the marriage between Kaundinya and the nagi princess of the Soma line to echo the Khmer legend of Prah Thong.
Kulasid bhujaendrakanya somati sa vancakari prthivyam acritya bhave tivicesavastu ya manusavasam uvasa - - - Kaundinyanamna dvijapungavena karyarthapatnitvam anayi yapi bhavisyato rthasya nimittabhave vidher acinthyam khalu cestitam hi. (Mison: Inscription of Prakacadhamma: P. 919-920)
In the passage, the word "Kaundinya" (a short form of "Kau Nandinya") was a reference to the bull Nandin or Nanda known also as "Brah Kau" (devine cow). Two variances of "Kaundinya" were found in both Champa and Khmer inscriptions: "Sivanandana" meaning the Nanda of Siva, and "Sarvakaumah" meaning the golden bull of Siva. Later Champa inscriptions identify Bhadravarman as Varavamsa family of Brah Kau (Notes: Bhadravarman as a Nanda). Bhadresvara whose name following a custom we encounter constantly from then on, was a consecration of him to become a god king of both Khmer and Cham communities at Prey Nokor. One of their first residences was Kaudhara (meaning the realm of the bull), and was located at Vo-canh where the first inscription of Gupta scripture was found. Retaining the family name of Kaundinya or Sivanandana, they created multiple dynastic clans ruling over Southeast Asia.
Bhadravarman and the Construction of Mi-son *
The establishment of the Khmer Kingdom at the heart of Prey Nokor served as a reminder of the old Kamara court of Choladara and more importantly the rising up to claim Lin-yi' s suzerainty that led to a bigger scale confrontation with Kiao-tche and the Cham aristocrats as a whole. According to the Khmer tradition, the Khmer King Prah THong established the Khmer Empire, after driving out the Cham king. Nevertheless, the tradition confirms also that most of the Cham court stayed to become part of the new Khmer empire. As we shall see later that after the Khmer court was ousted by the Chenla uprising, a Cham king by the name of Kandarppadhamma took the opportunity to establish Champapura at the sanctuary of Mi-son (The Chenla Empire: The Land Chenla and the Foundation of Champapura). It became since a contested ground between the Khmer court of mainland Indochina and the Cham court of Java. It actual site is identified through inscriptions found later at the archeology sites where legacies of early Khmer establishment could be detected by brick temples at Mi-son and Dong-doung. At first, these early monuments and temples at the site were mistakenly though as Cham but a closer study reveal instead that they were primary Sivaite of the khmer (Meru) legacy. On the other hand, the Chams who were Vishnuite left little traces behind during their occupation of Southeast Asia. This lack of concrete vestiges was perhaps due to their tradition of the steppe. The Chams like the Yuehs of central Asia were highly nomadic in a life-style that allowed them to live in hostility and to escape quickly if they are harassed or facing hardship. During their early occupation at either Champasaka or any other places, their commodities were built from light materials that left no traces after they moved. Contrary to common belief of associating the Cham identity to the ethnic austronesian of the mainland, we have argued that the Cham communities or straps were mostly built on the ground of austroasiatic tribesmen. Like their Yueh Shish counterparts, the Cham aristocrats had their origin from Central Asia and to most extend from Middle East. Their presence in Southeast ASia followed very much the same development that the Hiong-nu subdued the Tchou and established their own Han legacy of China. Along with the temple of Sivaite cult, the inscriptions of Mi-son reveal that the next king of Prey-Nokor was Bhadravarman. As we shall see, it was actually the coronation title of Kaundinya after he was crowned as king of the Khmer Kingdom. Concerning his origin, he was neither a Cham nor a native king of Prey Nokor, but a member of the Gupta court. Settling at Kauthara, Kaundinya was looking of extending his control up north and fought China for the lost territory of the Hiong-wang kingdom. His capital of Kauthara was instead sucked and destroyed by the attack of Tan Ho Shis before he moved his capital to Mi-son. The same story was also recorded in Chinese source as the attack on the capital of the Lin-yi king by the family name of Yang Mah. Remembered in Khmer Tradition as Prah Thong, Yang Mah founded his Khmer Kingdom by ridding off the control of the contemporary Cham King. The real event was however much more complicated as Yang Mah or Kaundinya had to fight off the Imperial China' s interference in the effort to restore back the legacy of the Hiong-wang kingdom. At the same time, he had to fight off the Cham king, presumably ruling at Champasaka, to build his own kingdom. Through his epigraph, we know that he was the builder of the first temples in the sanctuary of Mi-son. His coronation name "Bhadravarman" was found also in the inscriptions that he left in Quang Nam and in Phu Yen. This identification is based on the probable date of his reign around the year 400. After the attack of Tan-Ho-Chih, Kaundinya apparently moved his capital to the east of Mi-son on the site of present day Tra-Kieu. Stone inscriptions in a script identical with that of the inscriptions at Mi-son were found fairly numerous at the location. Two of them marked the limits of the domain consecrated to Bhadresvara, the linga erected to commemorate his reign. It is the oldest known linga in Southeast Asia that suggests of its belonging to the first wave of Sivaite cult being brought into the region (BEFEO IV: Notes d' Epigraphy: Deux nouvelles inscriptions de Bhadravarman I, roi de Champa: P. 185-191, by M. L. Finot). The inscriptions of Bhadresvarman are the first documents in dealing with the religion of the court. They reveal the dominance of the cult of Siva Uma, without prejudice to the homage rendered to the two other members of the Trimuti. According to the inscription of Cho-dinh, Bhadravarman resumed the throne of Champa with the title of Maharaja and the god king "Bhadrasvarasvamin" was residing over a brick temple at Moksaya (probably Sahn-chap).
The god king "Bhadrasvarasvamin" was erected at a brick temple (prthiviprasada) located at "moksaya", by the "Dharmmamaharaja sri Bhadravarman" for the greatness of the great grandson of the king "Chandraditya" (BEFEO II:Notes d'epigraphy:Deux nouvelles inscriptions de Bhadravarman I, M. L. Finot.)
The passage indicates that Bhadravarman was a great grandson of a king named Chandraditya whom we shall identify as no other than Chandragupta II.
THE INDIAN CONNECTION
With the rest of king Samantha's descendants retracting themselves to start their Buddhist consortium in Southeast Asia, Zoroastranism set the rulers of the three kingdom in quarrel mood. Under the Yueh leadership, Chinese royal houses sought controls over theirs southern peers. Conflicts erupted when the latter sought to recover back their legacy over the north. While they were locked in deadly conflicts, evidences show that the Wu joggled the two power-houses to prosperity. Before the fall of the Han, Kiao-Tche fell increasingly under the Wu dynasty. Under these circumstances, the Koshan that was actually formed as a branch of the Wu made themselves in direct conflict with both the Prey Nokor and the Gupta courts who were themselves remnants of the Tsu and the Tchou dynasties.
The Tchou's Connection *
The inscription of Vo-Canh was the earliest stone inscription so far found in Southeast Asia and according to the Chinese source, was dedicated to the defunct king Fan Hu-ta (Cham: Lin Yi Ki: P.22), the predecessor of king Yang Mah. Inscribed in Sanskrit, the inscription conveys the presence of two rulers, one by the name of Kamratam Chanda and the other as Nandana, father and son apparently ruling at Prey-nokor. The father ordered his son to send tributes of white tame elephants to the Tsi court and requested in exchange that Yunnan be given back to them. It confirms the statement of the dynastic histories of the Chin and the Liang that in 357, a king of Funan named "Tien-chu Chan-tan offered tamed elephants as tribute" to the Tsi court. It also give us clue of what was happening during the early formation of Nokor Khmer about the claim of Kiao-Tche by the Lin-Yi King Yang Mah to be under his control as part of Prey Nokor. It also helped us to identify who was the Funan king tien-chu Chan-tan whom scholars mis-identified as a Koshan king (ISSA: The second Indianization: From the Middle of the fourth century to the Middle of the sixth century). As the word "tien-chu" was often used as a reference to "Indian", scholars mistook the title "The Indian Chan-tan" as a reference to the contemporary Indian king bearing the Koshan royal title of the Yue-shih family. Our finding referred the name Tien-Tchou to be not a reference to the nationality of India in general (as had been postulated,) but specifically to members of the fallen court of the Tchou dynasty. In close relation to the Coladara legacy of Southeast Asia, we had argued that the founding fathers of the Tchou dynasty were from the Xiang dynasty of king Samantha's direct descendants. Through the adoption of the Meru and later the Buddhist Culture, Maghadha started to bring itself up as the Middle Kingdom of a new cakravatin empire under the Tien-Tchou dynasty. On the other hand, we had argued that the Koshans were originated from the Wu dynasty having its deep root from the fallen Shang court of China. Their settlement at Gangetic India after the fall of Anyang, resulted in the emergence of the Vishunite Colan royal house of India. They were in good term with the Nanda when king Sudhodhana delegated the Magadhan throne to Bimbissara. After Ashoka turned himself into becoming a Buddhist devotee, the Koshans split themselves into two antagonist groups. At the time that the Han dynasty took over China, the Vishnuite Koshan of Gangetic India and Yunnan already strenghtened their position alongside the Chams to subdue the Hiong-wang kingdom. On the other hand, the Buddhist Maurya would merge itself with the Nanda to form the Gupta court of Maghadha and after fighting off the Saka from the Gangetic India, made their way into Southeast Asia to finish off the control of the Southeast Asia' s Sakan leadership. In agreement of the Chinese source, we shall identify that the king "Chanda Meruraja" of the inscription was no other than the as Chandragupta II of the Gupta royal house. His presence at the Funan court was actually in the mission to finish off what the Gupta had started in India, which was to subdue both the Koshan and the Cham royal houses at Southeast Asia. To strenghten our argument, we argue that his father Samudragupta was neither a stranger to Southeast Asia. First, we knew that his mother was a Kamara princess of Srasvati and the fact that he sided with his mother' s line, he must to consider himself more Southeast Asian than Indian. Their connection with Southeast Asia is not a surprise since the ancestral connection between the Gangetic India and the mainland Indochina was well established since the Great Flood by king Samantha's direct descendant king Kururojja. In addition, the fall of Hiong-wang was another catapul that drove the Tchou and Tsu to take refuge and to mingle once again in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, we shall argue that the emergence of the Gupta court exerting its own suzerainty after fighting off the Koshan and other Sakan powerhouses at Maghadha, was not an isolated event. At the contrary, we shall see that it was very much connected to Southeast Asian fighting against Kiao-Tche' s control to restore back Prey-Nokor. Under threat, the Lin-Yi' s court was forming a tight pact with Funan against China. Their consortium was strong enough to worry the Chinese court of possible reprisal against Chinese control of Kiao-Tche. Known as Bach-Tien in Vietnamese, the campaign of restoring back the Tian legacy of Kiao-Tche was apparently joined by another southern power-house from abroad. Following the death of Fan Wen, his successor known in Chinese texts as Fan Fo continued the campaign. However, unsuccessful attempts in 351 and 359 forced him to give up Je-nan and to send embassies to China in 372 and 377. By this time, the Chinese text also mentions about the Indian king Tien-Tchou Chan-tan as a sovereign of Funan and that another personage by the name of Kaundinya was already taking control of Lavo (Pan-pan).
The Legend of Prah Thong *
As the Chinese word "Fo" translates itself into "Buddha", the Lin-yi king Fan Fo must to have a strong conviction for Buddhism. The fight between Prey-nokor and Kiao-Tche represented the fight between the new emerged Buddhism and the well established Yueh Culture of the Sakan World. We had seen a Kamara king with the title of Sri Mate Sri Man Dhammaraja who, through circumstances, rose up from a modest military background into becoming the ruler of Funan. In his quest to consolidate the Funan Empire, he made an extensive campaign against the control of Kiao-tche and evidences show that the site of Champapura was also under his control (Champapura: The attack of the Funan Empire). It is also important to note that the title of Sri Dharmaraja was the reference to the ruler of the Lower Menam Valley where evidences that Buddhism was already implanted by Buddha Gautrama himself. It was also the same kingdom mentioned in Chinese text as Langkasuka that was bordered at the north by Pan-pan where the next king Kaundinya brought the Theravada Buddhism to start a new phase of Buddhist expansion (Nokor Khmer: Mahidhara as the seat of Sri Dharmaraja: The formation of Lavo). With all that information, we shall argue that Fan Fo was not a descendant of Fan Wen but was a member of Sri Dharmaraja' s court who wrested Prey Nokor from him and transformed it as a Khmer Kingdom. Contiuing on the policy of his predecessor, Fan Hu-ta invaded Je-nan in 399 but suffered defeat. During the decline of the Chin dynasty he renewed the incursions again in 405 and 407. In 413, he embarked on a new campaign to the north of Je-nan and did not return. At the phase that the fight against China was imminent to recover the Hiong-wang past legacy, evidences show the inclusion of all the fallen courts of the Hiong-wang kingdom into the Buddhist consortium (The Indianization: The Tartrization: The Rise of the Gupta). The whole development was once again representing the Yang' s recovery phase amid the Yin-Yang cosmogony in which Sri Man (a Nanda) rose up from a modest background and started a movement to recover the Yang supremacy back to the world. The next development, as we shall see, involved another Nanda to launch the Khmer Empire from the ashes of the Hiong-wang Kingdom. In their next records, Chinese texts were mentioning about a new line of Lin-yi kings under the assumed name of Fan Yang Mah making many raids inside the Chinese controlled territory of Kiao-Tche. The word "Fan Yang Mah" in Chinese texts is exactly the reference to the Khmer word "Yang Mah" or Prah Thong (meaning the prince of gold). In correlation with the Khmer legend of Prah Thong, Yang Mah had Indian origin. He was exiled by his father Adityavamsa to Southeast Asia where he later established the Khmer kingdom of Prey Nokor. According to the legend, he was exiled from his father's kingdom and with a complete court of entourage, found his way to Southeast Asia and settled among the Cham (Saka) communities. A conflict soon started between him and the Cham king.
Conflict erupted (between Prah Thong) with the Cham king and a raid was conducted to chase the Cham king up north to Champasak in the realm of Nokor Lam-neang.
The fight with the Cham king was actually a part of the campaign to fight off the Chinese control from the mainland Indochina, since the Cham king was vassal to the Chinese court. The attack cleared the southern control of the Cham king and enabled Prah Thong to build his own kingdom. Like his predecessors, he continued to fight unsuccessfully the north. After many failed campaigns, he ended up requesting investiture from the court of China and was deceased in the same year. According to Chinese source, his nineteen years old son of the same name succeeded him. Continuing on his father's policy, the young king started to send his troops fighting with Kiao-Tche. The Chinese reacted vigorously and while he was absent, the Chinese army laid siege to Chu-su. Hindered by a storm, the Chinese were unable to exploit their raid successfully and had to lift the siege. In retaliation, Yang Mah II tried to borrow troop from the king of Funan to conquer Kiao-tche. The Funan king however did not consent. For some reason, his request for help was not granted and he found himself facing with a tough challenge induced by Kiao-Tche' s retaliation. In 433 he requested from the court of China that he should be given the government of Kiao-tche. There were records in Chinese court of embassies from Lin-yi, Fou-nan and Ho-lo-tan in 434. The Chinese word "Ho-lo-tan" is the transcription of "Varadhana", a revived tradition of the Brave-kingdom or Hiong-wang, resurrected at Prey Nokor. The invocation of Varadhana confirms the continuing claim of Lin-yi over the southern part of China. The embassies were undoubtedly sent to work with the Chinese court over the request about the claim over the control of Kiao-Tche. Besides the love of gold, other Indian legacies were also brought in by the Kaundinya court to be transplanted in Southeast Asia. During his exile, Prah Thong was allowed to bring along his own court, an accommodation that enabled him to build up his own kingdom in a short time.
Prah Thong' s Family Background *
We could not count on modern Indian History to identify the origin of the Indian prince Prah Thong whose venture in Southeast Asia led to the formation of Nokor Klhmer. His legendary surname was mystic and hard to identify among Indian royal household because it was not meant to be a real person, but instead an image or personality that shaped up an historical event. As customary of Khmer legend, a reference to a king is not for most of the time, of a single person but of his lineage or dynasty. On the same premises, the name "Prah Thong" was not a royal title, but rather a legendary surname used in Khmer tradition in reference to the first line of kings, supposedly coming from India to form the Khmer empire in Southeast Asia. As we shall see, the legendary Prah Thong plays the roles of the first Kaundinya as well as many generation of his descendants during the formation of the Khmer Empire. To make-up the deficiency of his background, the Khmer tradition provides the information of his father elaborated enough to help us identifying him among Indian royal house of the time. According to the tradition, he was not just an Indian king, but a Mahaksatrya by the name of Adityavamsa.
There was a great king (mahaksatrya) named Adityavamsa, residing in Indrapathpuri Srimahanokor of the northern region (uttaratissa phaga). The king had five sons who were powerful and mighty over all other countries. The king then assigned his eldest son to rule the Cardinal (Chanda) State at the east. He assigned his next elder son to rule the Cardinal (Bachanta) State at the north. He assigned his middle son to rule the Cardinal (Bachanta) State at the west. He assigned his next younger son named Prah Thong to rule the Cardinal (Bachanta) State at the south. For the youngest son, because he was still very young, the king anointed him to rule over the Middle Kingdom along with him. (RPNK: Preah Thong)
The passage indicates that Prah Thong was the fourth son of king Adityavamsa of Indrapath locating in the northern region of India. Mahaksatrya was by-all-mean not common but a privileged title, rarely given to an Indian royalty because of his high status as a king. Furthermore, his capital was mentioned as Indrapath that could be identified as an ancient city located near New Delhy. From the description, Indrapath must to be a Middle Kingdom of a Cakravatin Empire. These indications are specific enough to help identifying king Adityavamsa as a great king of the time. Through modern Indian history, one such great empire could not be other than the Gupta Empire. Having its Middle Kingdom at Magadha, the Gupta Empire (240-550) attained its apogee during the reign of Chandragupta II. Nevertheless, we shall argue that the Guptas did not build their empire but own it through consorting with the Vakataka court of Deccan (The Indianization: The Rise of the Gupta: The Rise of the Gupta Empire). His high status as an Indian king matches the description of king Adityavamsa, who was no other than the father of Prah Thong. More study would reveal that Kaundinya or Prah Thong was a prince of the Gupta court and was exiled by the latter to Southeast Asia. In correlation to the historical figure of Kaundinya, the event took place around the last part of the fourth century. His arrival in Southeast Asia happened during the golden age of the Gupta Empire and scholars notice undeniable traces of Gupta legacies during his Indianization of Southeast Asia. First, the golden reputation earn-marked by the Guptas due to their beautiful minted gold coins appeared to be retained by Kaundinya himself whose surname Prah Thong meant the prince of gold. In Indian history, the source of the Gupta's golden gold was unknown. A close study reveals to us that it have been due in big part to the amount of gold, collected from Southeast Asia during the Gupta-Lichavi consortium. While it is clear that no parts of India had that golden reputation, Southeast Asia was well known as Suvannaphumi, the land of gold. From the finding, we shall conclude that the formation of the Gupta Court is closely related to the fallen Tchou court who, while taking refuge in Funan, continued to fight along with the native Kamara kings to free Prey-Nokor from the control of China. It was then that Chinese records started to mention about two Kun-lun kingdoms, formed side by side at Southeast Asia on the ground of the fleeing Kamara people from the Hiong-wang Kingdom. The Grand Kun-lun could be identified without doubt as Sri Dharmaraja that was located at Bandong but later was spreat to the Menam Valley (The Chenla Empire: The Fall of Funan: The Water Chenla and the Establishment of the Mon Country). On the other hand, we shall identify the small Kun-lun kingdom as no other than the Khmer Kingdom of Prey-Nokor that was formed by Kaundinya or Yang Mah and was going to be subjugated by Tan-Ho-Chih in 433 AD.
THE BIRTH OF THE KHMER EMPIRE
The identification of the Grand Kun-lun Kingdom as Sri Dharmaraja was accepted by scholars without any objection. From the description of the Chinese records, there was no ambiguity to locate it at Bandong where some of the refugees embargoed to Madagascar. In contrast, the identification of the small Kun-lun kingdom was not that trivial. So far, scholars could not agree on its location and worst yet of its real identity. The Chinese account of Tan-Ho-Chih' s campaign against the fort of Prey Nokor (Chu-su), as we shall see, provides rare geographic data about the early Cambodia' s landscape. The provided information is important to clarify enigmas about the ancient geography of the region and shed light to specific historical facts recorded in Chinese texts about the small Kun-lun kingdom.
The Attack of Tan-Ho-Chih *
According to the Chinese records, there were two cities that Tan-Ho-Chih had to subdue. The first city was mentioned as Chu-su and according to the description, must to be located deep inside Cambodia. At the head of his army, Tan-Ho-Chih forced his way in the river of the city at 6 li from the wall of the portage marine guard. Descending the current, they landed at the oriental lake of the big river where Tan-Ho-Chih and his army proceeded to carry on the attack. We could identify the location to be no other than the port of Kampong Cham located at the oriental shore of the great lake of Cambodia today. It also implicates that Chu-su was no other than the ancient city of Banteay Prey Nokor located in the Kampong Cham province. Its name "Banteay Prey Nokor" indicates that it was a military command post or a ford of Prey Nokor, Its Chinese reference of Chu-su indicates on the other hand that it was also a granary. Commenting on the attack, the Chinese text provides elaborate data about the geographic setting of Cambodia at the time. The description clearly portrays a different picture of the Great Lake of today.
Water flows in abundance all over the lake and, at the high tide it flows to the west. The water from the tide, each day and each night, ascends to the level of seven to eight feet. From that place to the west, there are ocean tides from the first to the fifteenth of the moon. Ascending for seven days, the water attained 16 to 17 feet. At the end of the seventh day there is a new day-tide and a night-tide which water ascend from one to two feet. At spring, summer, and fall, it is absolutely normal. The high and the low levels are fixes; water does not overflow and does not seclude. It is what people calls Hai yun (ocean tide) and also Siang Chui (elephant water); people also give the name of Siang Pou (elephant lake).
The passage describes in detail the inundation of the great lake that provides us a clear picture of its natural setting at the time. From the description, it is clear that the eastern opening of the Lake was immediately connected to the South China Sea. The setting make the Lake looked like a bay and behaved very much like an open sea. It agrees with the Khmer Tradition that a big shank of ancient Cambodia was submerged. Islands were formed in the shallow part of the sea that later dried up to become the Mekong Delta. The passage went on mentioning about the existence of fresh water dauphins that still live along the Mekong River today.
The water is clear, the rapid flow give way to a fish, of black color; the torso is 5 tchang long, the head resembles the head of a horse. The fish waits for men to enter the water and come to harass them.
Undoubtedly the dauphins had to make a transition from the sea water to the fresh water. They had good relationship with human and were not fished down by local fishermen for otherwise they were extinct.
After sacking the city of Chu-su, the next expedition targeted the capital of Lin-yi and was located at the eastern coast of Prey-Nokor. It was the last of the capitals of Lin-yi that were moved many times by the leadership of Prey Nokor, depend upon circumstances of Chinese interference. During the early formation of Prey-Nokor by the native king Chu-lien, evidences show that his capital was located at Siang-lin. With more interference from the Han, its location was moved by the next rulers to farther south of Je-nan' s border for better protection. Perhaps because of strong Cham aristocratic communities that could provide him with political and military support for his Bach-Tien movement, Fan Wen moved his capital to Hue. Unable to maintain control of Je-nan, his successors Fan Fo and Fan Hu-ta moved the capital of Prey-Nokor further south to a location called Tien-Tchong. According to Chinese source, the city was surrounded by mountains and hills at the southwest and a current of water at the Northeast (Cham: Lin Yi Ki: P.22). It was a well protected fort, but Tan-Ho-Chih was able to suck the city and collect 100,000 pounds of pure gold as trophy to the Chinese court. The attack was successful, but proved to be a costly campaign since Tan-Ho-Chih needed to conduct two raids at different time in order to overrun the Lin-yi court. The organization of having many cities locating at different sides of the kingdom and each one to have its own army to protect the city, was typically part of the overall strategic defense system of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire. Although it did not stop the invasion, the system created more obstacles for the invader to conquer the whole country. Evidences show that this strategic defense system had been drew along the Khmer Cakravatin empire through out its history. As we shall see, Angkor had four cardinal states and each one had its own political and military units to run independently from each other.
The Kun-lun Kingdom *
For long, scholars were puzeled by Chinese accounts of the Kun-lun Kingdoms mentioned as a group of islands located at the southeastern part of Indochinese peninsula.
Some of these countries (or islands) re about a hundred Chinese miles round, some many hundred in circuit, or some measure about a hundred yoganas. Though it is difficult to calculate distance on the great ocean, yet those who are accustomed to travel in merchant ships will know the approximation size of these islands. They were generally known (to Chinese) by the name of the country of Kun-lun, since (the people of) Kun-lun first visited Kochin (Kioa-wang) and Kwang-tung. (RBRP: Introduction: P. 11)
From the information provided by the Chinese source, scholars were able to identify the Grand Kun-lun kingdom as Malayu of the Malay peninsular. Nevertheless the mentioning of the small Kun-lun kingdom to be formed also on a group of islands created a great enigma to scholars. Because they are the only group of islands of today that seams fit the geographical description, the Poulo Condor islands were so far what they had in mind. Some scholars still maintain their view even though they know that these islands were and still are scarcely populated and never been historically known as a kingdom in the past, others treated the Chinese accounts as fautif (DICI: P. 222). It was in agreement with the Khmer tradition that a big shunk of Cambodia of today was submerged before the formation of Nokor Khmer (The Nagadvipa: Nokor Tuk: Tukkola and the Island of Kauk Tloak) in contrast to what it is now. The enigma happened when accounts from later Chinese source started to convey a dried Cambodia of today. The itinerary from the west of Yunnan to Tonkin and Lao (BEFEO IV: Itineraires de gnan-Ning a l'ouest de Yunnansen vers le Tonkin et le Lao) describes the land route from the southern China province Yunnansen directly to the Kun-lun kingdom. It is inferring that the kingdom of Kun-lun was no other than the Khmer Kingdom that was formed by Kaundinya at Ba Phnom after it was alredy dried out. At the end of thirteen-century, Chou Ta Kuan described his way to Angkor through the Mekong River. In the description he mentioned the Kun-lun Sea to be right at the Mekong delta where there was a passage to the Mekong River. In contrast to Tan-Ho-Chih's account, his description of the Mekong River up to Angkorwat perfectly matched the geographic setting of Cambodia of today. The comparaison affirms that the Kun-lun kingdom was actually formed on a group of islands of the southern part of Cambodia of today before it was dried up after the eruption of Krakatoa (Nokor Khmer: The Khmerization of the Kambuja: The Drying of Kambodia). One of the islands that was called the "Big Island" sheltered the court of Cho-po (Champa) before it was driven up north by Kaundinya. Located first at Prey Nokor, the capital of Nokor Khmer must to move to Ba-phnom after the attack of Tan-Ho-Chih. The southeastern group of islands formed later the Mekong Delta and was known as Kamboja Krom, the lowland Kamboja of today. The word "Kun-lun" had also been used by Chinese texts to identify a family of people and their dominant culture of the region.
From Lin-yi to the south, people have their hairs curly and dark body; they are in general called Kun-lun.
It was referring to the aboriginal people with curly hair and dark skin carrying the Hbe marking, descendant of the Hoabhinian tribesmen that make-up a high percentage of Cambodian people today. However when talking about Kun-lun culture, the Chinese texts had made it clear that it was not only about the aboriginal people but a big part of Southeast Asia that they were referring to (KunLun: P.208). As we had argued, the word Kun-lun is a Chinese reference to the Kun-lun ranges of the northern side of Himalayas. Connecting to the Tian Shan ranges, the Kun-lun Culture is also a reference to the Tian Culture. Starting from 2300 BC, the appearance of the Moi forts down in the Valleys of the mainland indicate mass migration of the Kajins from the Kun-lun range into the plain (Prehistory: The move toward the plain: The Moi forts and the Kajin migration). Since then we had argued that the Kun-lun identity is very much connected to the formation of the Hiong-wang kingdom. It started with the mass migration of the Kun-lun people from the Tian Shan range to populate the dried-out land of the mainland Indochina and of the southern part of China (Prehistory: The Move Toward the Plain: The Split of the Kamara Society from the Austroasiatic Family). It was then that modern languish started to distinguih the Khmer-mon language from its austroasiatic tongue counterpart. As the study progressed, scholars found out that this classification is not constrained only to language, but extends to the culture and identity as well. Scholars named the culture after its contemporary remnants, the Khmer and the Mon, which lead to some confusion since both the Khmer and the Mon identities were due to later development. The Kamara identity on the other hand, was the preceptor of both cultures and was actually the common reference to what Chinese texts called the "Kun-lun" culture.
The Kun-lun Culture *
The work of Ma Tuan-Lin provides us with information about the Khmer customs of Prey Nokor (Ethnographie des peuples etrangers a la Chine, Tranlated by Marquis d' Hervey) that proved to be indigenous of the Kun-lun kingdom. As usual, Chinese historians recorded facts or customs that were not common to their own but were specific to that region or country. Some of the customs were found to be specific at the time of the recording but were no longer practiced in modern days. Others stayed and mirrored the Khmer tradition of today. On the cultural issue, Ma Tuan-lin described an odd custom about marriage that was unique to the ancient Khmer tradition.
Wedding always takes place in the eighth moon. It is the girls who ask for the boys in marriage, because the girls are considered to be of inferior nature. Intermarriage among people who bear the same family name is not prohibited. The
Ma Tuan-Lin was accurate on the whole account except on the reason why the girl had to ask for the hand of the boy. In contrast to Chinese tradition, the Kun-lun was in general matriarchy and never treated women as inferior. In fact, the Khmer tradition recalled that this unusual custom started under the reign of a powerful queen. She was so powerful that no man would dare to ask her for marriage. To get married she had no other solution than to ask the hand of her man herself. It became a custom that spread to the general population. As the boys appeared to be perfectly fine, the girls were getting tired of the new practice. A contest was set that would decide once for all which sex should take care of the marriage initiative. As the girls came out winners, they decided to delegate back the burden to the boys to initiate the marriage. In addition, the boys had to render some years of free services to the house of the future bride in addition of having to pay up-front the predetermined cost for the hand of the girl. Needless to say, the tradition stayed until modern days. Another specific Khmer custom that contrasts to the Chinese custom of prohibiting marriage between members of the same family name, was the marriage between close relatives. In fact, the Kun-lun had no family name and marriage between close family members was not prohibited. As to their appearance, the text provided a sketchy detail about the typical Khmer look.
They have deep-set eyes, noses that are straight and prominent, and black frizzy hair. The women fasten their hair on top of their head in the form of a hammer...
It is not clear that this description was referring to the Khmer aristocrats in particular, or the general people who were generally of mix races and mix appearances. The last and the most interesting part of Ma Tuan-Lin's work, is about the elaborate funeral ceremonies that clearly contrast the Chinese way. Instead of storing the dead body inside a tomb, the Khmers cremate the dead body and store some of the left over bone's fragments in the urn.
The funeral ceremonies of a king take place seven days after his death, those of the great mandarins three days after death, and those of common people the day after death. Whatever the status of the deceased, the body is carefully wrapped, carried to the shore of the sea or the river accompanied by the sound of drums and by dances, and then burned on a pyre set up by those present. When a king's body is burned, the bones spared by the fire are put in a gold urn and thrown into the sea. The remains of the mandarins are put in silver urn and thrown into the waters at the mouth of the river. In deaths of completely undistinguished persons, an earthenware vase taken to river waters suffices. Relatives of both sexes follow the funeral possession and cut their hair before turning away from their shore; it is the only mark of the very short mourning. There are however, some women who stay in mourning in another form throughout their lives: they let their hair hang loose and disheveled after it has grown out. These are widows who have vowed never to marry again.
From the elaborated funeral ceremony for the king to the simple disposal of the death for regular people, the process of cremation was the same. It consists of burning the body into ash to free the soul into its own ream. The belief was that, after the body died out, the soul still survives and would be subjected to another cycle of birth. Both Sivaism and Buddhism advice believers of not mourning the death of a love one since it is just an effect of natural cause. At the contrary, survivors are advised to care about their own soul before it is too late. After death, the soul is to be judged according to its own merit and karma.
- ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
- Camb: The Cambodge, by E. Aymonier
- Funan: BEFEO III: Le Funan, by Paul Pelliot
- KunLun: Journal Asiatique Juilet-Aout 1919: Le Kouen-Louen et les Anciennes navigations interoceaniques dans les mers du Sud, by Gabriel Ferrand
- AChina:Ancient China Simplified, by Edward Harper Parker
- BChina:The Birth of China, by Herrlee Glessner Creel
- AIndia:Ancient India, by R.C. Majumdar
- BViet:The Birth of Vietnam, by Keith Weller Taylor
- RBRP:A Record of the Buddhist Religion as Practiced in India and the Malay Archipelago AD 671-695, by I-Tsing, Translated by J. Takakusu
- RHT:Les Races du Haut-Tonkin de Phonh-Tho a Lang-son, by Maurice Abadie
- Vocanh:The Inscription of Vo-Canh
- EIndo:BEFEO II: Etudes Indochinoises, By Edouard Huber
- Cham: BEFEO XIV: Georges Maspero: Le Royaume de Champa, by Leonard Aurousseau
- Mison: BEFEO IV: Notes d' Epigraphy: Les inscriptions de Mi-Son: P. 897-977, by M. L. Finot
- DICI: BEFEO IV: Deux Itineraires de Chine en Inde, by Paul Pelliot
2070-1600 BC: Xia Dynasty; 1300-1046 BC: Shang or Yin Dynasty; 1046-221 BC: Chou Dynasty; 424-321 BC: The Nanda dynasty; 322-185 BC: The Mauryan Empire; 221-207 BC: Quin Dynasty; 206 BC-220: Han dynasty; 43: Chinese general Ma Yuan set the southern frontier of Siang Lin; 137: Uprising of Chu Lien at Lin-yi against the Hans; 192: Chu Lien liberated and formed Lin-yi; 230: Fan Man extended the Funan Empire; 240-550: The Gupta Empire; 335-375: The reign of Samudragupta; 357: Tien-Tchou Chan-tan offered tamed elephants as tribute to the Tsi court; 375: Kaundinya settled at Prey Nokor; 380-414: The reign of Chandragupta II; 421: Yang Mah I requested investiture from the court of China; 431/32: Yang Mah II requested troops from Funan to detroy Kiao-tche; 433: The governor of Kiao-tche Tan-Ho-Chih overran Prey Nokor; 606-647: Harshavaradhana.
- The modern Translation of ancient historical Accounts from Chinese Sources
Consistent with the fact that history is easily distorded through time, mistakes were often made during the translation of historical accounts from Chinese source. Historical data were recorded according to the time and space as defined during the time that the events were taking places. Chinese scholars used translation or transcription of local places or names for references in their record. During later translation, sinologues often found in Chinese references difficult in relating to the actual places and communities that changed over time. For most of the case, these names and places had been moved or changed through the dynamic of time and space and became unrecognizable along the historical time line.
- The linguistic Path of Evolution
It is wise to be cautious that language as well as culture does not generally evolve on the same path with the ethnic evolution and that the gene or DNA analysis alone solves the ethnicity issues.
- The Indigenous Tribesmen of Tonkin
The Tais, the Tho and the Muangs were among the few of the indigenous tribesmen that were remnant of the Great Flood. Before the formation of Tonkin, they were mostly left to their own environment. Because their territory was not part of the fertile land of the Red River's valleys, they created no political threat to the Chinese court. Evidences show that the Hans left them to the local Tai (Ho) leadership of the Lolos and the Pai-Y (RHT: Lest Tho et Les Thai: P. 31). In contrast, the Hans chased out the Kun-luns completely from the southern seashore to form Tonkin and other Dai-Viet communities. They do it by replacing the Kun-lun people with migrants from Annam (Central China) to be administered by the Han themselve. In their administration, they used Yueh migrants from Central Asia to secure order and protection from the south.
- The Chinese Land owners
During the Later Han period, prevailing of land ownership encouraged the rise of powerful landlord class of Chinese aristocracy. Government exactions tended to drive peasants to sell their lands to rich merchants and officials and to become tenant farmers. (Viet: The Han-Viet era: The Great Han-Viet Families)
- The Land Concession of the Thos
In conjunction with formation of Tokin by the Hans, The Thos were going to receive mass migration of Yueh stocks from Central Asia. However, With no interference of the Han, the Nungs stayed as migrants and had to acquire theirs land by non-violent means. Many families "Nung" still possessed the contracts by which the land concessions were being written. Evidences show that the Nung did only could afford and received mediocre lands that they must improve by hard works (RHT: The Nung: P. 78).
- The Flood Survivors of Southern China
Other Indigenous survivors of the Great Flood, the Thais and the Thos in particular, were settling in the high-ground. Like the Thais, the Thos built their dwelling on stills and retained their own deluge' s story of the Great Flood (RHT: Les Tho du Bassin du Si-Kyang: P. 58).
- The Djiang' s Identity
According to Central Asian tradition, a lady of the Chiang clan gave birth to Hou Chi (The Lord of Miller), the future founder of the Chou Dynasty.
- Bhadravarman as a Nanda
The inscription of Hoa-Que introduces Bhadravarman in a complete reference to the ancient Nanda (Bhr Gu) Clan of Varadhana.
Cri Bhadravarmanpatir Bhr Gu VaravamcAm VarAmalacacanko (EIndo: The inscription of Hoa-Que: Stanza B: Line XVI: P 289)
The Animistic Culture vs Brahmanism
Scholars referred ancient animistc societies to build up theirs religion on day-to-day experience with the natural world. They then draw the conclusion that religions of today were made-up by men on the same way. The Khmer-Mon tribesmen however acknowleged that theirs religious believes were taught to them by the hight authority Yang spirit. In the early stage, the teachings concerned mostly of natural science that enables them to cope with nature. Along the way, more and more religious disciplines had been imposed on them to live harmoniously with fellow tribesmen as well as with nature. The Shaman (Xia-man) carried on the task from generation to generation of taking with fellow tribesmen care the well being of the tribesmen, physically and spirituality. While western Scholars later separated science from religion, the Sumerian scholars treated them closely related as the function of one is crucial to the other.